COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | GEORGE HAWKINS

Honoring the Second Amendment is best choice

When President Barack Obama announced his proposals for gun control, he said those who don’t agree with him will have been unduly influenced.

He says gun rights advocates will oppose his plans because they make money selling weapons, or because they support the National Rifle Association.

I am a Second Amendment supporter. I believe Americans have the right to keep and bear arms. I believe that right, as the Second Amendment says, “shall not be infringed.”

I’ve never sold a weapon to anyone, nor have I been a member of the NRA and seldom listen to their arguments.

Well then, the administration says, supporters will be bullied by the NRA.

I am not an elected official and sought elected office just once, a long time ago. During that campaign, the NRA never sent me any money, promised to support me if I stood with them or threatened to derail my campaign if I did not.

President Obama then moves on to blame Rush Limbaugh and Fox News for our unwillingness to agree with him. I supported gun ownership long before Limbaugh and Fox News took to the airways.

I’ve held those views for 55 years. I don’t listen to Limbaugh, and while I do catch a lot of the Fox News programming, until this past month I hadn’t seen any discussion of the issue.

The president’s assertions are incorrect.

Actor Danny Glover says the founding fathers wrote the Second Amendment, one of 10 that became part of the Constitution in 1791, in order to keep weapons out of the hands of slaves and thus preserve that despicable business. I doubt that was the motive.

The war for independence was just eight years concluded when the Second Amendment was approved. The ability to call upon a citizenry that was well-armed was about the only way to stand off the British soldiers.

It didn’t take a sterling memory to keep that in mind.

No matter the issue, some people can find a way to make one side of any argument racially based. This time, it works against the point.

Keeping weapons out of the hands of the oppressed is an odds- on favorite of despots. If the right to keep and bear arms were to maintain slavery, that plan failed.

Seventy years after the Second Amendment became part of our heritage, slavery, following a war between people who had weapons, was ended.

Eliminating the right to bear arms or infringing upon that right will open the door to all kinds of abuses. At least one study indicates criminals are more likely to embark on home invasions and armed robbery when they are sure the potential victims do not have a gun. History shows us governments that don’t take kindly to differing opinions like to keep arms out of the hands of the people they oppress.

The horrors of recent days in Sandy Hook, Conn., and before then, in Aurora, Colo., don’t change the need of free people to be able to defend themselves.

Our government has supplied arms to any numbers of desperate multitudes trying to shake off an oppressive hand. Government officials are currently talking about supplying weapons to Syrian rebels.

I don’t expect to have the need for an outsider to send me a means of defending myself from the U.S. government, but I don’t want that need to surface just because I think it can’t happen here. It did happen here 237 years ago.

Chicago has some of the toughest gun control regulations in the nation. Those laws have not stopped what is turning into a record number of gun deaths in that city.

About 42,000 people die on the nation’s highways each year. We seldom blame the cars.

During the last assault weapons ban there was no apparent reduction in the number of deaths at the hands of someone holding a firearm. Another weapons ban is likely to have the same result.

Gun control advocates, including President Obama, have a perfect storm behind which to try and disarm U.S. citizens.

Their knee-jerk reaction is ill-advised.

Enforcing current gun use laws and honoring the Second Amendment is the best choice. It will take far more responsible arguments than those offered by the president to change that.

Hawkins is retired after 35 years as a construction industry association manager. He was a broadcast reporter and news anchor in Denver. As a Navy officer, he saw action in Vietnam in the River Assault Squadrons and is the recipient of a Silver Star and Purple Heart. He can be reached at george.hawkins@sddt.com

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